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Solomon Bill Limits License Plate Readers

[CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] The Rhode Island State House is located at 82 Smith St. Providence.
The Rhode Island State House is located at 82 Smith St. Providence.
The Rhode Island State House is located at 82 Smith St. Providence.

Editor’s note: The following report was provided by the RI Legislative and Public Information Bureau.

STATE HOUSE — Rep. Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick) has introduced legislation (2022-H 7507) that would regulate and limit governmental use of automated license plate readers. The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear testimony on the bill when it meets on Thursday.

Automated license plate reader systems combine high-speed cameras and sophisticated software to capture and convert license plate images into data that can be compared with information in other databases.

“While these readers can be an effective tool for law enforcement, they collect a large amount of data, and those collections are growing faster than the policies that govern their use,” said Representative Solomon. “These machines capture and retain the location information and photographs of all vehicles for long periods of time. Concerns have been raised that the information collected may be inaccurate, retained longer than necessary, abused or shared in ways that could violate privacy. This legislation would spell out exactly what the readers can be used for and what they cannot be used for.”

Cameras used in ALPRs may be mobile or stationary and are small enough to be mounted on police cars, road signs or traffic lights, or placed at the sides of roads or on bridges. License plate reader systems can collect a driver’s geographic location, along with the date and time a vehicle was in a particular place.

The proposed legislation would limit operation of the readers to official law enforcement purposes only, and would only be used to scan, detect, and identify license plate numbers for the purpose of identifying stolen vehicles; vehicles associated with wanted, missing or endangered persons; and vehicles that register as a match within the National Crime Information Center.

The House Judiciary committee is scheduled to hear testimony on the legislation at its meeting, which will convene on Thursday, March 10, at the rise of the House (about 4:30 p.m.) in the House Lounge on the second floor of the State House.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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